What are the Differences Between Norfolk and Norwich Terriers?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Norfolk and Norwich Terriers are two of the smallest terrier breeds, often with caramel brown wiry coats and sturdy little bodies. They’ve both become immensely popular breeds as they tend to be well behaved, and easy to train. Both types of dogs have small litters, typically only two puppies at time, so getting a puppy of either breed can be difficult and expensive. Owners counter that the expense and the time spent in acquiring a puppy are well repaid by owning one.


Despite a similar look, Norfolk and Norwich Terriers were always two separate breeds, but until 1964, they were classified under the same group. In 1964, the United Kennel Club of Britain officially separated them into two breeds. This change would occur much later in the US, where they were not officially reclassified until 1979. This later change can partially be attributed to the scarcity of both types of dogs in the US until a few years ago.

From a physical standpoint, the dogs have slight differences. Perhaps the most obvious is difference in ears. Norwich Terriers have prick ears — upright, pointy ones that make them look a bit like foxes. Norfolk Terriers have drop ears, featuring the classic soft foldover of the ears. The Norwich may have a slightly harder coat, while the Norfolk has slightly larger feet, and may overall weigh a bit more for its size and seem a little sturdier.

Additionally, the Norwich shoulder height is about 10 inches (25.4 cm), while the breed standard for the Norfolk is usually 10 to 12 inches (25.4 to 30.48 cm). Both dogs weigh between 10 to 12 pounds (4.5 to 5.4 kg). You’ll commonly see both Norfolk and Norwich Terriers with the caramel coat, but either dog can be red, black and tan, or golden in color.

Breeders of Norfolk and Norwich Terriers also suggest the dogs can be different in personality. Norfolk are more inclined to chase prey, which may mean that a dog unaccustomed to small cats could be a problem. They are said to have great concentration and some owners report that the Norfolk will regularly watch television. Though both breeds make for good companions, Norwich Terriers tend to be more responsive to humans and depend on them more. The Norwich bark is a lower, gruffer sound than is the Norfolk’s bark, which is a bit high and more like a small dog bark.

Unlike some of the other terrier dogs, these breeds are not prone to digging or chewing. Neither is prone to excessive barking. They both tend to do very well with young children, though it’s best to be sure children don’t accidentally fall on the dog. Still some breeders recommend not having terriers if you do have young children. If you’re thinking of breeding either Norfolk or Norwich terriers, the Norfolk is by far easier. Most Norwich terriers need to deliver babies by cesarean section.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments

When I was a kid, my uncle had a Norwich Terrier, Heavanet. I agree with you -- their pointy ears give them such a cute look. The breed is also highly intelligent and extremely loyal.

Both the Norfolk Terrier and the Norwich Terrier are adorable, but I prefer the looks of the Norwich Terrier because of her pointy ears. I have a friend who adopted one from Norwich Terrier rescue, and she is a darling little dog.

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